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Campaign launched to raise $200 million

Can a love story really change the world?

Drake University believes that it can.

“The greatest thing students can do is to take advantage of all Drake has to offer and fall deeply in love with Drake,” said John Smith, vice president for alumni and development. “If students have a rewarding experience while they’re here, they will want to stay connected throughout their lifetimes.”

These love stories culminate to create the desire behind Drake’s new campaign, distinctlyDrake. The campaign was announced during the Volunteer Leadership Summit held Friday in Sheslow Auditorium that included more than 300 members from Drake boards and committees in a celebration of philanthropy.

Drake President David Maxwell announced at the summit that the vision of the campaign is for Drake to become  one of the best institutions of higher education in the United States. Maxwell said $200 million is needed to reach that goal.

“Drake is a wonderful place right now,” Smith said. “We have the opportunity to take this institution to another level.”

The $200 million will be used in various areas throughout the university to improve and enhance the excellence that is already present, Maxwell said.

Photo courtesy of Drake University

Some promises of the campaign include: a $50 million scholarship endowment, 26 endowed faculty positions, $3 million to support five interdiscplinary centers, the construction of a new School of Education building, the construction of new science facilities with renovations to classrooms and laboratories, and renovations and additions to Cowles Library, the Drake Fieldhouse and Cartwright Hall.

“We have every confidence that together, we will succeed,” Jim Hubbell III, chairman of Hubbell Realty Company and co-chair of the campaign, said.

The university has received more than $74 million in gifts from donors already who were thanked during the summit for their passion and commitment to Drake.

“Already recognized by our colleagues in higher education for academic excellence, in five years we aspire to be a national model for the very best in higher education,” Maxwell said.

With much of the donations coming from elderly alumni, Drake is trying to reach younger alumni to sustain more contributions, Smith said.

Drake is at a 15 percent alumni participation rate. The national average for all universities is 11 percent, but the average for private universities is about 17 or 18 percent.

There is certainly room for improvement,  Smith said.

“One of our measurable outcomes is to increase the amount of money contributed and to increase the percentage of alumni contributing to our university,” Smith said.

He hopes to eventually increase the alumni participation rate to 20 percent by May of 2014. Also, Smith believes the distinctlyDrake campaign will unite current students and alumni in their love for Drake.

Smith’s idea has become a reality with the launch of the distinctlyDrake website where anyone can upload a video, picture or story discussing their love for Drake. There will also be a video booth in Olmsted Center where students can share what they love about Drake over the next two weeks. Alumni are invited to share their stories at love@drake.edu.

“I’m kind of shy, so I don’t know if I’d do it,” Erika Johnson, a pharmacy first-year, said of the love story booths. “It might be interesting to see what they [alumni] are up to or how Drake helped them.”

Hubbell North Renaming

In another announcement Friday, Hubbell North’s upper level was named Quad Creek Cafe and the lower level is now Spike’s Spot. Winners of the naming competition are Kyle Glaser, Caitlin Schaapveld and Nicholas Casber.

Fireworks photo: Heather Boone


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